For Immediate Release

Contact: Selma Tucker, Director of Marketing and Communications
Public Sector Consultants
(517) 484‑4954

November PSC/​Denno Research Poll Results

Fresh off the heels of the November 2014 election, with winter already knocking at our door, Public Sector Consultants and Denno Research hit the phone lines to hear from 600 Michigan voters from November 11 – 13.  The survey included questions about the direction the state was headed, absentee voting, early childhood education, and charter schools. The poll has a margin of error of plus/​minus 4 percent, and included 20 percent cell phone respondents.

Right track, but not better off

Providing further support for Governor Rick Snyder’s successful bid for a second term, a majority of Michigan voters (61 percent) feel that the state is on the right track, compared to 28 percent who feel it is on the wrong track. Half of Michigan voters said that their financial situation was the same as it was four years ago, with the remainder split between better off (25 percent) and worse off (24 percent).

  • White voters (62 percent) and men (67 percent) were more likely to say the state is headed in the right track, compared to African American voters (44 percent) and women (55 percent).
  • By about a two‐​to‐​one margin, Republicans (33 percent) said that they were better off compared to Democrats (18 percent). Financial progress was tied to age, with 41 percent of younger voters (age 18 – 34) saying they were better off compared to 14 percent of retirees (age 65 or older).

Voters were also asked what Governor Snyder’s top priority should be as he begins his second term. Most responses mentioned the economy, particularly job creation and tax cuts, along with fixing Michigan’s roads and various issues related to K – 12 education.

“No reason” absentee voting supported

During the last election, about a quarter of Michigan voters used an absentee ballot by certifying that they had at least one qualifying circumstance (such as being away from their precinct, age, physical or health limitations). We asked if allowing “no reason” absentee ballots in Michigan (meaning any registered voter could vote by absentee ballot), would impact voting behavior.

  • A strong majority (81 percent) said it would make no difference for their voting behavior, with 16 percent saying it would make them more likely to vote, and just 2 percent less likely to vote.
  • Nearly half (44 percent) of voters said that convenience is the most compelling reason to allow “no reason” absentee ballots, while just 18 percent said they do not support them.

Reading proficiency and parental choice

Third‐​grade reading proficiency is getting attention in the Michigan Legislature this year, and charter schools have been under increased scrutiny from State Superintendent Michael Flanagan, so we asked voters some questions about early childhood education and their general opinion of charter schools. As expected, there were some differences in opinion between Democrats and Republicans.

  • The vast majority of Michigan voters (83 percent) feel that having high‐​quality pre‐​kindergarten programs in place is important or very important to achieving reading proficiency by the end of third grade. Democrats (93 percent) thought this was more important than Republicans (74 percent).

We also asked Michigan voters to choose between two positive and two negative statements to tell us which one most closely resembled their opinion about Michigan’s charter schools. Nearly half (46 percent) had a positive opinion, while 33 percent had a negative opinion, and almost a quarter (20 percent) were unsure. Most respondents identified with these two statements:

  • Charter schools are an important way to give parents a choice in where their child is educated (35 percent).
  • Charter schools are a financial drain on Michigan’s public schools (26 percent).

There was evidence of partisanship here, with Republicans (48 percent) more likely to feel that charter schools provided choice, compared to Democrats (26 percent). Additionally, Democrats (36 percent) were more likely to say charter schools were a financial drain, compared to Republicans (14 percent).

Holiday creep?

With Black Friday nearly upon us and more stores opening at 5 PM on Thursday this year, we wondered when people were planning to start their holiday shopping. According to Michigan voters, Thanksgiving dinner is safe — for now. Maybe. About a quarter (28 percent) of voters said they would rather shop online (rather than commit to a specific time) — and 56 percent said they were unsure if/​when they would shop. That probably means the majority of respondents are waiting for the Black Friday ads to best plan their shopping strategy.

Thanksgiving brunch, anyone?

The results of the poll can be viewed here.

Public Sector Consultants is Michigan’s most respected, connected, and dedicated research and program management firm, with specialties in governance and regulation, health care, education, energy, and environmental policy. PSC is committed to providing objective research and sound solutions to the public and private sector.

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